Paratransit Services

To learn more about this service, please click on one of the below topics.

What is Paratransit Service?

Paratransit service works side-by-side with our fixed route services in a “demand-response” capacity, meaning eligible customers call in advance for the service to be delivered.  A fare is required for each ride. These services are federally mandated because of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. People with disabilities are entitled to the same public transit opportunities that everyone else uses. Hampton Roads Transit’s Paratransit service is an origin-to-destination, shared ride service. The service we provide is not door-to-door, as may be the case in some other areas of the country. (top of page)

What is Fixed-Route Service?

This service is commonly known as the public transit system. Persons with disabilities may qualify for half fares and any senior over the age of 65 or Medicare cardholders automatically qualify to ride the fixed-route service for half fare. All of our fixed-route vehicles are wheelchair accessible and you do not need to make a reservation as you need to do with Paratransit service. For more information, call (757) 222-6100 or click on the following: Accessibility, Fares, or Bus. (top of page)

Service Provider and Vehicles

Service is currently provided by two contractors. First Transit operates the call center which takes all the trip requests and creates the daily scheduling. MV Transportation is the contracting company that handles all of the daily operation (customer transportation) for our Paratransit service. The service transports passengers using accessible lift vans and sedans. Passengers are accommodated in accordance with their specific needs. (top of page)

Service Area and Operation Times

Paratransit operates during the same hours and days as the regularly scheduled fixed route service which varies according to each route. In addition, Paratransit only services areas within a 3/4 mile radius of any fixed route. This means your pickup and drop off location must be within a 3/4 mile radius of any fixed route service in order for Paratransit vehicles to serve you. If your pick-up or drop off location is not within a 3/4 mile radius, and you are still eligible for Paratransit service because of your disability, you must find alternative locations to be picked up or dropped off within the 3/4 mile radius in order to be served by Paratransit. Eligibility or service area alone is not a guarantee for service. You must meet both eligibility and service qualifications in order to use Paratransit. (top of page)

Suffolk Residents

Because the city of Suffolk no longer uses Hampton Roads Transit’s public fixed-route service, Paratransit no longer services the city of Suffolk. For transportation assistance in the Suffolk area, please visit  http://www.suffolkva.us/pub_wks/transit or call (757) 963-9227. (top of page)

Service Between Southside and Peninsula

Effective February 1, 2015 Paratransit vehicles now travel directly from the South  Side to the Peninsula and vise versa. Please be advised, due to distances traveled and possible traffic issues, customers should be prepared for a longer travel time. (top of page)

Fares and Tickets

The one way fare for Hampton Roads Transit Paratransit is $3.00. Each trip is to be paid separately. Paratransit accepts exact cash fare or pre-purchased tickets only. Passengers are expected to pay when boarding. Paratransit operators cannot make change; nor can they accept credit cards, vouchers and/or insurance. Customers may purchase ten ride ticket books though MV Transportation or at any participating Farm Fresh. To inquire about or to purchase a ten ride ticket book, please call (757) 455-8010 or click the MV Order Form (doc) / MV Order Form (pdf) . (top of page)

Passenger’s Rights and Responsibilities

Under Hampton Roads Transit’s Unified Service Plan and Policy, Paratransit passengers have the following rights:

  • Courtesy and respect from public transit personnel, including timely phone service and accurate information
  • Service comparable to fixed route
  • Information available in accessible format(s)
  • Open public involvement process for changes in service or fares
  • Reasonably well-maintained vehicles

Paratransit passengers have the following responsibilities:

  • Respect for other passengers and public transit personnel
  • Obey vehicle and service rules, including but not limited to:
    • No eating, drinking or smoking
    • Origin-to-destination service
    • Comply with service rules for scheduled pickup time
    • Keep service animal under control
    • Schedule and use Paratransit service only when fixed route service cannot be used because of disability
    • Limit “no shows” and late cancellations since these affect the availability and timeliness of service to others.
    • When using audio or video devices, please use earphones; loud music will not be tolerated on any HRT vehicle
    • When using cell-phones, please talk quietly

For the full policy, please click Unified Service Plan and Policy. (top of page)

Riding With Carry-On Items

Each certified rider is limited to 2 grocery bags or similar sized carry-on packages. Operators are not required to carry packages for anyone. Travel carts must have the capability to be folded. (top of page)

Driver Assistance

Drivers are required to offer customers assistance with stability when boarding or exiting a vehicle, securing your wheelchair/scooter, and securing your seatbelt or safety harness. Drivers are not required to assist in the operation of mobility devices at any time or act as a personal care attendant. Drivers are also not permitted to assist with or handle service animals.

HRT’s Paratransit Service is typically an origin-to-destination service rather than door-to-door. Unless you make a specific request, your driver will not assume that you need assistance to or from your door. In the event you need help getting to or from the door, your driver will give you reasonable assistance provided that while the driver helps you, she or he can maintain a clear sightline to the vehicle and safely leave your fellow passengers. Should you require assistance door-to-door, please let us know when you make your reservation. Your driver will be notified of your needs and will be happy to reasonably assist you.

Drivers have no medical certification to be able to assist in any medical situation other than dialing 911. It is recommended that the certification department has a current emergency contact on file for you.
(top of page)

Personal Care Attendants and Companions

Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) are for the personal assistance of a disabled passenger and are not provided by Hampton Roads Transit. Passengers traveling with a PCA are not required to travel with the same PCA for every trip taken. A PCA needs no formal certification or identification to be recognized for free ridership in order to assist a disabled passenger. However, any disabled passenger accompanied by a PCA must be previously approved for such status through Paratransit eligibility and must first present his or her issued Paratransit Eligibility card with PCA status when boarding. If the passenger fails to provide to the operator proof of an approved PCA status, the person accompanying the passenger will be considered a companion and will be charged the full applicable service fare of $3.00 per trip. There are no exceptions to this. Proper identification and declaration of PCA status must be presented to all Hampton Roads Transit operators for passengers to board since not all disabilities are obvious.

Note: Please inform the reservationist when scheduling your ride of any additional mobility aid(s) your PCA or companion may have. (top of page)

Riding with Service Animal

Trained service animals boarding any Hampton Roads Transit service are free of charge and are not limited to any specific breed. A permit is not required, however you may be asked to confirm that your animal is a service animal. You are responsible for the care and supervision of your service animal at all times. Drivers are not permitted to assist with or handle service animals. Drivers may exclude a service animal from any service or Hampton Roads Transit facility or vehicle when that animal poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others.

Service animals are permitted on any and all Hampton Roads Transit services by following these guidelines:

  • Your animal must be on a leash, or in a closed carrier, and remain under your control at all times.
  • Your animal must not be aggressive toward people or other animals on board and must display appropriate behavior at all times.
  • Your animal must remain at your feet or on your lap for the entire trip and is not permitted to sit on a vehicle seat.
  • Your animal must be housebroken as you are responsible for any damage or soiling caused by the animal.

(top of page)

Seatbelt Recommendations

Seatbelt use is recommended in all vehicles that are so equipped. Drivers are required to assist any passenger that requests seatbelt use who cannot secure themselves. (top of page)

Ride Times and Pickup Window Times

Paratransit service is a shared ride service so passengers will likely be riding in the same vehicle together.  Ride time refers to how long each passenger may be riding in a Paratransit vehicle until they reach their personal destination. Scheduled ride times have to be comparable to regular fixed-route service travel times. The total scheduled maximum ride time for Paratransit passengers is currently 90 minutes. This means that you may be traveling in the vehicle for up to 90 minutes before reaching your destination. Please plan your trips with this in mind and ensure you have designed your trips to include ride time in order to reach your destination on time.

A pickup window time is a 30-minute window, or time period, and your driver may arrive anytime within the scheduled window. This means that the driver will not arrive at an exact time, but rather arrive within a 30-minute window time and be considered on time. For example, if you ask to be picked up at 11 a.m., your ride will be scheduled to arrive between 10:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. and be considered on time. You must be ready to board at any time within your 30-minute pickup window time.

Wait time refers to the amount of time a driver is required to wait for the passenger to board or be ready to board the vehicle at curbside. Drivers are required to wait a total of 5 minutes upon arriving within or after the pickup window time at the scheduled pickup location. Once the driver has completed the 5 minute wait time and the customer has not made contact, the driver will continue on their route and the customer will be considered a no-show. (top of page)

How to Schedule a Ride

Paratransit service is a prior day reservation only service and will not accommodate same day service requests. In order to ride Paratransit, you must be certified and schedule your trip(s) in advance.

Paratransit reservationists are available Sunday through Saturday from 8 am – 5 pm. Your trip must be scheduled by 5 pm the day before you wish to ride. For example, if you wish to ride on Thursday, you need to call on Wednesday by 5 pm.

Reminder: Return trips are not automatically scheduled for you.

To schedule a trip you must have your Paratransit identification number ready and call (757) 455-8010, TDD/TTY customers call 711. If a requested time is not available, under ADA regulations, we must offer you an alternate time within one hour prior or one hour after the time you are requesting. This will be discussed with you at the time of your call. Be sure to request and save a confirmation number from the reservationist. If you will be riding with a personal care attendant (PCA) or companion (guest), please tell the reservationist. (top of page)

How to Arrange Subscription Service

This service is offered to any customer who travels from the same location to the same destination at the same time of day for each trip at least one day a week. These trips are prescheduled and you will need to call if you wish to cancel or request a hold on these trips otherwise they will continually re-occur. To arrange for or change subscription service, please call (757) 455-8010 between the hours of 8 am – 5 pm. (top of page)

Preparing for Your Trip

  1. Be sure to have with you the scheduling number (757) 455-8010 should you need to cancel your return trip or check on a trip later on in the day.
  2. Be ready to board the vehicle at curbside at any time during the duration of your scheduled 30-minute pickup window time.
  3. Make sure you have your exact fare or ticket ready before boarding.
  4. When the vehicle arrivals, present to the driver your Paratransit identification card and pay the fare when boarding.

(top of page)

How to Cancel a Ride

Should a Paratransit passenger need to cancel their trip, they will need to do so at least 2 hours prior to the start of the 30-minute pickup window time or it will be considered a Late Cancellation violation. To cancel a trip, you will need your Paratransit identification number and call (757) 455-8010. When speaking with a representative, be sure to request and save a confirmation number when cancelling your trip. Should you need to cancel your trip before 8 am or after 5 pm, you may call the same number and leave a voicemail stating your identification number, name, and the trip information you would like to cancel. No confirmation number will be issued during those hours.

Reminder: Return trips are not automatically cancelled. To avoid a violation you must also cancel your return trip if there is one scheduled. (top of page)

What to Do If Your Ride Is Late

To inquire about your ride, you must call (757) 455-8010. (top of page)

No-show and Late Cancellation Policy

Missing or cancelling a scheduled trip late may result in loss of your Paratransit Service. When missed trips occur, they are classified as a No-Show or Late Cancellation. You are considered a No-Show for a trip if you fail to board or fail to be ready to board the vehicle after the driver has waited the 5 minutes within the on-time pickup window for that trip. You are considered a Late Cancellation if you fail to cancel your scheduled trip at least 2 hours prior to that trips pickup window start time. In accordance with Hampton Roads Transit’s No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy, any Paratransit Service client is subject to sanction(s), or enforcement(s), for violation of the policy. Should any Paratransit Service client establish a practice or pattern of excessive no-shows and/or late cancellations, that client’s services may be suspended. Any combination of three (3) Late Cancellations or No Shows in any consecutive three- month period or less will be deemed “excessive” and is defined as a “violation” of this policy. Passengers with excessive Late Cancellations/No-Shows will be subject to sanctions as described below. Please note considerations for the number of violations will be made for more frequent users of the service, providing the number of violations do not exceed 10% of the total trips taken:

  • First Violation = Seven (7) day suspension of service
  • Second Violation = Fourteen (14) day suspension of service
  • Third Violation = Twenty-one (21) day suspension of service
  • Fourth Violation = Thirty (30) day suspension of service

For the full policy, please check the No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy (doc) / No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy (pdf). (top of page)

Notification of Suspensions

Should any client be in violation of the No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy, they will receive a notification of suspension letter titled “ADA Complementary Paratransit Service Sanction Notice”. This letter will list each missed trip violation with an explanation of the process. (top of page)

Right to Appeal

You reserve the right to appeal eligibility determinations as well as any proposed sanctions against you. You have 60 days from the date of your determination or sanction to appeal. To inquire about the appeals process, please click Appeals Guide (doc) / Appeals Guide (pdf).

(top of page)

Policies

Please click any of the following to view the policy in full:

(top of page)
As a visitor, all Hampton Roads Transit Paratransit service policies and procedures are to be followed. Eligible visitors may use Hampton Roads Transit Paratransit service for a total of 60 days per year. Beyond those 60 days will require the standard eligibility process for permanent use. Please call (757) 222-6087 to inquire about visitor qualifications.

For information in alternative format, please call the Paratransit Department at (757) 222-6087 or email us at paratransitdept@hrtransit.org.